Longitudinal evidence for DEFRA Rural Evidence Research Centre

Heather Joshi, Brian Dodgeon and Gareth Hughes, Institute for Education

[Project number 30031]

Birkbeck College is directing and administering a DEFRA-funded project called 'Rural Evidence Research Centre' (director: Prof. J. Shepherd), and we are sub-contracted to do a piece of research on rural/urban migration, using the LS and also the Cohort Studies based at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

We want to look at issues such as:

Do the life courses of people who remain in particular types of rural area differ from those who move out and from those who move in?

What types of local area have the more transient populations and what types of people, in terms of social advantage and deprivation are more likely to be found in, stay in or move into rural areas?

The idea is to build an understanding of the demographics of rural areas, and also to facilitate the design of future longitudinal data collection.

The specifically LS-based part of the project would be to contribute an analysis of census-based rural residence histories, 1971-2001, or possibly just between 1991 and 2001. The aim would be to combine histories of location in rural areas with those of qualifications, employment, occupation, household composition, commuting, car access, housing tenure and quality, mobility, longstanding illness, mortality, and for women fertility. Rural areas might be classified in various ways, making reference to Tony Champion's beta-testing work on 2001 one-year inter-regional migration and using the new DEFRA-approved definition of rural (and remote rural) areas. Individual histories might be differentiated by sex, age and date of birth.

We would like to classify places as far back as possible to this new classification, although we realise that the geographies for 1971 and 1981 are constrained to follow contemporary ward boundaries. We would be contributing a new set of derived variables which would have to be attached in a safe setting.